A Brief Note & Disclaimer: Just to provide a sense of the setting, all events remain canon to the Harry Potter novels. This takes place the year after the Great Battle at Hogwarts happened.
I can''t claim credit for the creation of the Harry Potter franchise and all else you recognize, but everything original is mine.
“Pompous arse,” Cho muttered under her breath, and beside her Cody couldn’t help but snort. For the better part of the last quarter hour, they’d been assaulted by Marcus Flint’s slimy demeanour, greasy hair and shameless use of rather pathetic pickup lines.
“Slimy git,” Cody replied in agreement, nodding seriously.
“Oi! Shut it back there, yeah?” called Oliver Wood, captain and keeper extraordinaire of Puddlemere United. “In case you two chattering gossips haven’t noticed, we’re trying to run some proper try-outs here!”
Marcus Flint flew tauntingly around in front of Wood, standing vertical and holding on with only one hand to his Nimbus 3000. “Wood, is this how you captain your team as well? Because quite frankly, I'm having doubts about wanting to try out--”
Oliver Wood turned his scowl from the two girls to the slimy candidate in front of him instead. “Show me what you can do, Flint,” he growled in a tone that clearly indicated that he thought that the Chudley Canons had a greater chance of winning the league this year than Flint had of making the Puddlemere United team.
“Hipshook!” Cho called, addressing Puddlemere U’s owner, “why are you holding try-outs? Shouldn’t there be reserve team members for this?”
Gavin Hipshook, a small balding turnip of a man with hairy tufts sprouting form his ears, turned a sickly shade a grey, but was saved from answering by Oliver Wood, who answered, “if our reserve members were any good, d’you think we’d still be auditioning players?”
Before Cho could answer, they were distracted by a loud shout from the pitch. Flint was the guilty party shouting, as could be predicted, “That was done on purpose! He gave me a crap pass!” He indicated Roger Davies, Cho’s boyfriend, by jabbing a finger at him accusingly. “He messed up my Porskoff Ploy!”
Sighing tiredly, Wood declared that Chaser drills were done and everyone had a five minute water break in which to prepare for the next drill, in which they were going to try and score Bludgers with Wood as the Keeper.
Hipshook moved up the bleachers to sit beside Cho and Cody, rubbing his temples. He checked his watch. “It’s already ten after two!” he exclaimed in surprise, “and we’ve yet to start the Seeker tryouts!” Shaking his head miserably, he wobbled off to discuss the situation with Oliver Wood, Roger Davies, and the other official members of Puddlemere United.
Cody felt rather out of place here. She didn’t truly have any real plans for this summer, although the warm June days were already rushing towards summer. Basically, she wanted to get a job, save up some gold, and keep waiting for news on whether she’d gotten accepted into Hippograph Healer Institute in Iceland, a highly prestigious school for healers. Her twenty-first birthday was just around the corner, and already she was aimed for a career change.
This morning, it hadn’t taken Cho much to convince Cody to come out and be supportive of her boyfriend Roger Davies’s Quidditch team’s Seeker and Chaser try-outs. Groggily, she’d agreed after Cho employed the excuse that today was her day off from her job at the Muggle Department of the Ministry of Magic. That was precisely how she now found herself at the tryouts, dressed in an oversize hoodie and grey sweatpants with plaid canvas shoes. Definitely not the most impressive combination. By the time they’d arrived, the tryouts were already well underway, and it didn’t take a genius to figure out that the team members were not impressed. The general mood had only soured as the day wore on.
Roger Davies loped up the bleachers, glad for the brief respite, and handed over two mugs of steaming hot chocolate. “Having fun?”
Cody snorted, taking a mug gratefully. “Thanks.” She glanced around warily, then whispered, “so why are you guys really
holding tryouts, anyway?”
Roger plopped down heavily, and gave her a furtive waggle of his eyebrows. “This stays between us, yeah?” Receiving a nod, he continued, “I’m not sure whether you’re aware of this, but Hipshook’s wife was a fair bit younger than him.” He paused, taking a ginger sip of his cocoa. “A bit of a trophy wife, I suppose. Anyway, she played Chaser on Puddlemere, and well, to put it bluntly, she ran off with the Seeker. Quite an arrogant bloke too. It’s still a bit of a sore subject, so I wouldn’t recommend bringing in up in the vicinity of Hipshook, if you see my point.”
Cody nodded, realising that this piece of scandal hadn’t been in the tabloids recently. They must have hushed it up somehow, although it was hard to say how long it would be able to stay that way.
The Chaser tryouts progressed rather smoothly after that, and although the majority didn’t fare particularly well against Wood’s amazing Keeper skills, two or three managed to get a few good shots on him. But the day’s trials were far from over.
As the Puddlemere Keeper and remaining Chasers resumed their spots on the bleachers, the Beaters headed out to test the Seeker-wannabes.
“Bloody hell!” Oliver exclaimed, pretending mock surprise at seeing Cody and Cho still there. “You two prissy still here?”
“Oh, sod off, Wood!” retorted Cho, throwing her magazine at him. “You should read that; there’s a whole article in there about you. That ought to feed your ego a bit. All this shit about you being ‘an extremely fit twenty-two year old, most eligible bachelor and such’. Load of bull if you ask me. Playwitch
's hottest guy of the year, my ass.”
“Say, Cho,” Oliver began, frowning slightly, catching the magazine with his well-trained Keeper skills. “Why aren’t you trying out for Seeker?”
“She’s too in love with her Ministry job,” Roger replied, grinning. “Although I tried to convince her otherwise…”
Oliver nodded distractedly, as Demelza Robins walked out of the changing room. “Oi! You there! Perhaps if you could actually hold onto the Quaffle a little better, you’d have a shot!”
She turned to look at him for a brief second, her eyes shimmering dangerously, before she scurried for the exit.
“You were great today!” Cody called after her. Then she rounded on Wood. “If you hadn’t been so harsh on her, I’m sure she would’ve done much better! Even so, she was one of the best and you know it.”
Oliver looked at her sourly, sizing her up and down. “And what would you know about Quidditch? I can’t imagine that you’re extremely athletic.”
Cody mouthed angrily, wordlessly, as terrible memories came rushing back. “I wouldn’t know.”
Cho gave Oliver a warning look. “That’s enough.”
They all turned their attention back to the pitch, and each regretted it almost instantly. The Seeker tryouts were progressing even worse than the Chasers one had. And so it was with a heavy heart and dejected mindset that they finally decided to call it a day at quarter past six, and the team regrouped on the bleachers with growling stomachs.
“Where’s Hipshook?” asked Mockridge, one of the beaters. He’d barely finished voicing his concerns when Hipshook reappeared, holding the hand of a small child.
“My grandson,” he explained to their questioning looks. “So, what’s the overall concurrence as to today’s advances?” he asked, and the team proceeded to debrief and discuss each of the candidates individually.
Cody zoned out for a while, but was jolted back to reality by the panicked voices.
“No, Theo, how could you?” Hipshook was scolding his grandson. Theo had accidentally released one of the practise Snitches, enchanted for a drill that made it particularly hard to capture. “And at a time when we have no Seeker too!”
Cody felt her heart thud heavily in her chest, and her breath constricted, making it hard to breathe. All the memories came rushing back, that fateful day, the pain, the memories. The feelings, the darkness, the depression. The feelings that had never really faded, partial pieces of her subconscious that she’d never really understood.
Cho looked at her pointedly, and Roger handed her his Firebolt. “Cody.”
Cody looked at the broom, held out in front of her enticingly; she wanted it so badly, wanted to take the broom into her hands, wanted to feel the wind in her hair, wanted to feel her body suspended in the air, wanted to achieve that freedom that she hadn’t felt since that fateful day nearly four years ago.
“It’s been long enough.”
Cody took a deep breath. She knew it was true. The entire team was looking at her, staring with wide open mouths and confused faces, but none of it mattered. It was just her and the broom. “I know,” she whispered softly, then with a determined expression, mounted the broom and took off into the air.
“What’re you playing at?” asked Wood, a highly annoyed expression on his handsome face. Cho quickly shushed him, and the whole team turned their faces skyward to watch Cody.
She started up into the air slowly, testing the feel of it, and was secretly delighted to find that the four years spent without having been on a broom hardly made a difference at all! Gaining confidence, Cody accelerated through the air, leaving all memories of the event from four years ago far away, down on the ground.
She began to look around for the Golden Snitch, revelling in the familiarity of being in the air. But she couldn’t make herself concentrate too hard just yet; the elation of being back in the air was too much. She shot off straight up into the air, and then spotted the Snitch down at the bottom of the pitch, hovering about three feet off the ground by a goal post.
She tore off steeply at a breath wrenching dive, and catch the snitch one handed, pulling out of the dive just before hitting the ground and gliding smoothly back to the bleachers. She tried to hand the Snitch back to Hipshook, but the whole team was staring at her entranced.
“Er…” she began, unsure what to say.
Oliver seemed to recover himself first. “I thought you said you didn’t play Quidditch,” he said accusingly, although his voice was tinted with awe.
“Actually, I just said I wouldn’t know,” Cody clarified nervously.
Mockridge looked down at his watch. “Three minutes and twenty five point seven seconds,” he said hollowly. “That’s a record! Not even Mul--” he cut off abruptly, shooting a panicked look at Hipshook.
Hipshook merely stepped forward and said, “Full name, Cody?”
“Er,” began Cody, utterly bewildered, “Dakota Wronski. What’s going on--”
“Wronski?!” Fenwicke, the other Beater, exclaimed loudly. “No way! Any relation to Josef Wronski?” Oliver snorted loudly in disbelief.
Cody turned to look at him defiantly, an amused smile frolicking upon her lips. “As a matter of fact, yes. Direct descendant.”
Hipshook grasped her hand tightly and shook it. “Well Dakota Wronski, we would be honoured if you would join Puddlemere United as our Seeker.”
Mockridge pumped a fist into the air and let out a whoop. “Yes! Wait’ll the league hears that we bagged a Wronski descendent for a Seeker! We’ve got the Cup this year for sure!”
“What?! No way,” protested Wood, sputtering indignantly. “What about the other hopefuls? She didn’t even try out! We can’t just… at the very least we need to run some drills for her--”
Cody thought for a minute. It wasn’t as if she had anything better to do this summer. Besides, maybe getting back into Quidditch was just what she needed.
“Oh shut up, Oliver,” snapped Hipshook. “She’s better than all the people we’ve tried out today, and you know it.” His gaze softened. “What do you say, Cody?”
Cody looked at Oliver Wood, an unspoken challenge in her eyes, and said clearly, “in that case, I accept.”
“Welcome to the team.”
A rare smile possessed Wood’s lips, and the rest of the team burst into cheers without abandon.
End Note: So, personally I'm still little displeased with the overall feel of the story, so any comments, suggestions, critiques, etc. would be monumentally helpful. What did you think of this first chapter? Which parts/lines did you like, dislike, etc. Would you like to see the story continued? Any sort of feedback would be appreciated.